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God's Announcement

Matthew 3:1-3
In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.' This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: 'A voice of one calling in the wilderness, "Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him."' (NIVUK)

These days we get to know about local and global news impersonally - through the TV, radio or internet. Mobile phones carry the information to us, wherever we may be. But when Jesus was announced at the start of His ministry, God appointed the human voice of John the Baptist to make the proclamation. However, his preaching was not intended to attract a crowd to admire a celebrity: it was to declare that Jesus is King and people needed to get ready for His arrival by repenting of their sin.

Repentance is at the opposite end of the spectrum to religious pride. Instead of assuming that John's hearers were basically good, he proclaimed that they were basically bad. They needed to turn from their sins in order to be ready to meet the King of heaven. This evangelistic ministry was prophesied in Isaiah 40:3-5, 700 years previously. Many had read the words before but failed to see that God was speaking to them. They had to remove the obstacle of sin before they could welcome the King and come close to Him (www.crosscheck.org.uk).

It is still true that the only way to prepare to meet Jesus is to admit your sin, turn from it and ask for forgiveness. That is why, when we confess our sins, He has promised to forgive us and make us clean from every stain of evil (1 John 1:9). Meeting Jesus is a straightforward matter: once we repent and confess our sin, the way is open. So let us make straight paths for the King to come into our lives, by getting rid of that obstacle of sin – giving it to Him and trusting in His cleansing blood. Let us also encourage others around us, at work and where we live, to do the same. We can announce Jesus like John the Baptist did: ours may be the voice that a friend or colleague has been waiting to hear.

King of heaven. I am so glad that You have authority over everything and everybody. I am sorry when I have put obstacles in the way of Your plans to bless me and those around me. Please help me to appreciate the importance of repentance; learning to be sorry for my sin and willing to confess it to You. Please help me to be humble in this way so that I may be released from the curse of sin, and blessed by Your forgiveness. May I also help others to prepare to welcome You as I am straightforward in telling them how only Jesus can forgive sin. In His Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams